Three UAH professors retire with nearly 100 years of service combined

UAH Teachers Retire

As the newly minted graduates of UAH make their way out into the world this summer, so too will three slightly more seasoned members of the UAH community.

Drs. Daniel Schenker, Julie Early, and David Neff, all professors in the Department of English, are retiring – and with almost 100 years of service between them. "It's a natural progression," says Dr. Neff. "The baton has been passed."

Here the longest of the three, Dr. Neff received an offer from UAH shortly after graduating from the University of Illinois. "It was supposed to be a one-year job but it turned out to be a 35-year job," he says. "And I was going to stay wherever the job was since we'd just had a baby that May!"



UAH communication professor to edit series on rhetoric and law

Dr. Clarke, professor and chair of the Department of Communication Arts at UAH

Dr. Clarke Rountree is no stranger to publishing. The professor and chair of the Department of Communication Arts at UAH has already written five books and numerous articles. But now he's taking on another role: series editor of "Rhetoric, Law, & the Humanities" (University of Alabama Press).

"I made my pitch by saying that we have a critical mass of scholars ready to write in this area," says Dr. Rountree, who is also a UAH alumnus. "Most series about rhetoric tend to be directed more toward the communication field, but I'm specifically trying to bring people from law and people from communications together."


Three UAH employees receive 2014 Foundation Awards

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UAH recently announced the 2014 UAH Foundation award recipients, they are: Mary Pat Bohrman, David G. Brown and Kenya S. Cole. UAH Foundation staff award recipients receive a check for $1,000 and a certificate of appreciation. Additionally, they will be recognized at the special awards ceremony and at the annual UAH Faculty/Staff Picnic on Wednesday, May 7.


UAH philosophy graduate receives prestigious fellowship to Penn State

Rachel King

For Rachel King learning was never limited to what was taught in the classroom. Her parents made sure of that. "The example they set for me was to always seek knowledge."

King attributes her proclivity towards philosophy to her parents, who instilled in King at an early age a sense of intellectual independence. "My brother and I were the kids writing book reports and doing math problems during summer vacation," she said. "While at the time, I wasn't the biggest fan of this 'extra' work, it instilled in me a sense of self-discipline that I believe is very beneficial in reading, thinking and writing about complex philosophical issues."

She initially came to UAH with a "mindset" to get a degree in political science and go on to law school to become a corporate attorney. "But everything changed my freshman year when I took Introduction to Philosophy with Dr. Brian Martine (professor emeritus). It was as if in every class session I was led to reconsider how I viewed and understood the world, others and myself.


Non-traditional UAH student achieves academic goals – with honors

Deanna Nicholas

Next month, psychology major Deanna Nicholas will graduate with honors from UAH. It's a milestone anyone would be proud of, but for Nichols, it takes on an even greater significance given the many obstacles she has faced along the way.

So it was with great excitement – and more than a little nervousness – that Nicholas presented her Honors thesis entitled Poverty, Domestic Violence and Intimate Partner Homicide in the U.S. to a rapt audience at this past week's Honors Lecture Series.

As for what's next for the West Palm Beach, Fla., native, Nicholas says she's already applying to graduate schools to earn her master's in social work. And if past performance is any indicator, there's no doubt she'll soon be helping other women like her realize their own amazing achievements.


UAH nursing student gains valuable experience volunteering, performing community service

Ashley Craig

"Volunteering and community service has helped me to grow as a person. Volunteering helps you to see how fortunate you are and how the smallest act of kindness you perform for someone can have such a major impact on them," said Ashley Craig, a senior nursing student attending UAH College of Nursing.

Craig graduates from UAH on Sunday, May 4, at 2 p.m., in the Propst Arena Von Braun Center. Approximately 802 students will participate in the Spring Commencement Ceremony (about 578 undergraduate degrees, 197 master's degrees, and 27 DNP/PhD degrees will be awarded).

An honors student throughout high school, Ashley graduated with an advanced academic diploma in May 2010 from Pleasant Grove High School (part of the Birmingham metropolitan area). While attending high school Ashley walked a tightrope — successfully balancing her academic studies while assuming challenging student leadership roles.


Kenneth E. Harwell, former UAH vice president of research dies

Kenneth Edwin Harwell

Kenneth Edwin Harwell, former UAH senior vice president for research and associate provost, died on Friday, April 4, in Nashville. He was 77.

Dr. Harwell began his tenure at UAH in 1989. He led the university's research efforts for more than 10 years. While at UAH, Harwell contributed to the formation of the Global Hydrology and Climate Center, the Space Science and Technology Alliance, and supervised over 15 research centers and institutes.

Following his retirement from UAH, Harwell was appointed the first chief scientist of the Air Force Research Laboratory organization where he served for two years leading the establishment of future national investments of the U.S. Air Force. Harwell also served as Director of Defense Laboratory Programs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense continuing his contributions to national investments in research, engineering, and science.

He was a registered professional engineer in Alabama, a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and a Distinguished Engineering Fellow at the University of Alabama. He was also recognized with the 1981 General H.H. Arnold Award from the AIAA Tennessee section and both the 1991 Holger Toftoy Award and 1997 Professional of the Year Award from the AIAA Alabama/Mississippi Section. He is the author of numerous research publications and holds two patents. Harwell's work and leadership have also been recognized by resolutions of the State of Alabama Legislature and the State of Tennessee Senate.

Dr. Harwell is survived by his wife, Dr. Sharon Hilton Harwell; one son,  Kenneth Hilton Harwell; and two daughters, Kathryn McLeroy, and Karen Harwell.


UAH alumnus is making people Smarter Every Day

Destin Sandlin

Teaching may be the noblest profession, but for Destin Sandlin, it is also an excuse to light cigarettes with a laser, fire an AK-47 underwater, and get leaf-cutter ants to carry a sign. That's because Sandlin is the host of Smarter Every Day (SED), a YouTube series that seeks to make science accessible – and interesting – to the average person.

"People think I make videos about things that I already understand because I'm so smart, but they're wrong because I'm not smart!" says Sandlin, whose videos regularly log hundreds of thousands of views. "And that's the point of the videos – they're a voyage of discovery for me as well."

And indeed, discovery has long been Sandlin's passion. Some might even say it's in his blood, given his own grandfather's interest in the world around him. "Granddaddy didn't have a set of encyclopedias at his house," he says, "so he would come over to our house, sit on the floor, and read ours."

Sandlin's father, meanwhile, would often challenge his son to take a closer look at everyday things. "We used to play a game called 'Do you know?' where my dad would ask me questions like, 'Why are leaves green?'" he says. "He knew a lot of the answers, but when he didn't, we'd look them up."

So it's no surprise Sandlin ended up majoring in mechanical engineering in college, before earning a master's in aerospace engineering from UAH. "I've always known I was going to be some type of engineer," he says.


UAH instructor releases new jazz CD

Ken Watters

The Watters/Felts Project may have just released their first, eponymous CD from Summit Records this month, but the story of this popular local jazz band really begins three years ago, during one of Ken Watters' Tuesday evening jam sessions at Bandito Burrito.

That's when vocalist Ingrid Felts, already well known on the south Alabama music scene, signed up to sing "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" with the band. "It's a very hard song, but she killed it," says Watters. "I knew right then that she and I needed to start a band together."

And they did, adding Keith Taylor, Abe Becker, Darrell Tibbs, and Marcus Pope. "I knew the right players for this group," says Watters. "Darrell is the best percussionist I know, Keith brings a certain maturity level to the band, Abe is one of my very favorite upright bass players, and Marcus is a high-energy drummer."


Symposium inducts Dr. Suzy Young into order

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Dr. Suzy Young, director of The University of Alabama in Huntsville's Office of Proposal Development, was named to the Order of Prometheus during the recent Pathfinder Chapter Unmanned Aircraft Systems Symposium in Huntsville, Ala.

"I am very honored to be a member of this group and receive this award," Dr. Young said." Membership in the Order of Prometheus represents the highest ideals, aspirations and accomplishments resident to the aerospace community.

"My work in unmanned systems began many years ago," said Dr. Young. "I knew then and I know now that they are valuable assets to our nation in both military and civil/commercial applications. Even more important is the dedicated community that supports the development of these systems and contributes to the education of our next generation for continued excellence in engineering and design."